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Tommy Robinson admits he was wrong over Muslim gang claims

Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson retracted false claims that ‘Muslim gangs’ had attacked a white boy at a school where bullies waterboarded a 15-year-old Syrian refugee. 

Robinson, who changed his name from Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, had posted a seven-minute rant on Facebook which made a string of untrue allegations about events at  Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield. 

The former EDL leader, who is now an adviser to Ukip leader Gerard Batten, also claimed Jamal, 15-year-old refugee at the centre of the bullying row, had attacked a white girl at the school. 

Tommy Robinson, pictured, claimed he was ‘set up’ by a bogus Instagram account when he made false claims that a white boy had been beaten up by a Muslim gang at a school where a 16-year-old boy was charged with assaulting a 15-year-old Syrian refugee

Jamal, 15, said 'thanks to everyone' as he arrived yesterday at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield

Jamal, 15, said ‘thanks to everyone’ as he arrived yesterday at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield

Jamal’s lawyer Mohammed T Akunjee said the boy’s family were considering legal action against Robinson. 

In a letter to Robinson, Mr Akunjee wrote: ‘We have been made aware of two videos posted to your Facebook page.

‘These videos contain a number of false and defamatory allegations in respect of our client.

‘We wish to place you on notice that our client intends to pursue legal action against you in respect of the contents of these publications and you will shortly be receiving formal pre-action correspondence in this respect.’

Robinson, who has 970,000 followers on Twitter, claimed he was set up by a fake Instagram account from someone claiming to be the mother of a child at the school. 

He said: ‘I have been completely had, how embarrassing man.

‘I had a woman, and I’ll show you our screenshots, messaging me all morning about what had happened to her son.

‘It turns out some leftie is sitting somewhere absolutely mugging me completely off and laughing about it.

‘So yeah, fake news central. It turns out the “13-year-old boy” who had been jumped by five Muslims wasn’t her son.’

He was surrounded by protesters showing support for his family in the wake of the horrific assault, and just a few minutes later got back into a car which drove off

He was surrounded by protesters showing support for his family in the wake of the horrific assault, and just a few minutes later got back into a car which drove off

The victim is pinned down on the grass

The bully squirts water in the victim's face as he is pinned to the floor

The shocking video shows the moment a bully grapples with the Syrian boy on the floor and squirts water in his face

Robinson earlier said ‘everyone is terrified’ of Muslim gangs at Almondbury School in Huddersfield.

He said the 16-year-old boy, who was charged with assault after the attack on Jamal, is ‘living in complete fear and the whole country has turned on him’.

In a Facebook Live video, Robinson criticised the sympathy shown to the Syrian refugee victim and his family.

Robinson said: ‘Imagine being in that school, you have lots of Muslim gangs beating up lots of young English kids, not one-on-one but gangs booting the hell out of them.

‘Then you decide to make a stand against this kid and you go up and grab him, then what happens? The whole world turns against him.’

He also hit out at what he called ‘bearded Muslim men’ outside the school holding a demonstration in solidarity with Jamal and his family.

Jamal appeared outside his school yesterday and said ‘thanks’ to around 30 protesters.

He smiled as he was brought there by his father, who also thanked the public.

Jamal alerted school authorities, the police, the local council and Ofsted in the weeks before the waterboarding attack, a councillor has claimed.

Councillor Bernard McGuin said the boy suffered a broken arm and had his hair set alight in previous attacks.

He said the boy had emailed him claiming the school, Almondbury Community School, had failed to take his complaints of bullying seriously. 

Jamal also contacted West Yorkshire Police, Kirklees education services, Ofsted and the Department for Education citing a string of bullying incidents.

However, Kirklees Council has said it has been working with the school and police for ‘a number of weeks’.

Cllr McGuin said the email, titled ‘complaint: please help me’, described a series of incidents including being doused with water, his hair set on fire and verbal abuse – and said his attackers filmed some of them.

Cllr McGuin, who represents Almondbury on Kirklees Council, said: ‘He gave me a catalogue of assaults that had happened to him.

‘He lists reoccurring bullying, verbal, physical and psychological abuse from a group of pupils. His arm was broken and he went to HRI. He lists a number of incidents and names a number of people. About five or six incidents – throwing water at him, swearing, throwing an egg at him, setting his hair on fire.

‘In the email he says “on a number of occasions I have observed my abusers laughing and recording me on their smart phones without my permission”.

‘He said he sent a complaint to the police, education services, Kirklees Council, the Department of Education and Ofsted for their immediate investigation on October 4, but felt as though nothing had happened, so he was contacting me.

‘I was taken aback that someone so young had the presence of mind to send the email to me. In a way I’m pleased he trusted me to do something about it.

‘He was only 15 or 16 and he was obviously in a really bad way. He thought the school and the police were ignoring him.’

Cllr McGuin said he contacted a senior party member who told him to refer the matter to Kirklees Council’s director of children’s services, Steve Walker.

The Syrian girl's headscarf is tugged at as she is shoved and falls down a grassy slope at school

The girl landed at the bottom of the slope with the much larger girl on top of her as her scarf was torn from her head

Jamal’s sister’s headscarf is tugged at as she is shoved and falls down a grassy slope at school

He said: ‘I couldn’t investigate because I’m not in the school. I was told to contact the director of children’s services because it’s a safeguarding issue. It is my duty to pass on the evidence.

‘I reported it to the director of children’s services on October 28 but I don’t know what action the school had taken before then.’

Cllr McGuin said he replied to the boy saying he would try to help him, and the boy wrote back thanking him for his reply.

He said: ‘The boy said there was a video showing what had happened to him going round school which he would send me, but he never did.

‘Then I got an email on Monday of this week detailing a number of things which had happened at the school. It was all dealt with. They had done an investigation. Parents and police had been involved. (The victim) was kept off school for a few weeks.

‘The first time I saw the video was on Wednesday. I’ve had it sent to me by several people. But it’s spiralled out of control completely.

‘I have been inundated with emails and phone calls. People are horrified by it and wondered what action I have taken. I started trying to answer everything but there are so many of them.

Tommy Robinson sparks fury after wading into refugee bullying scandal

Anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson has provoked outrage after wading into the refugee bullying scandal by accusing the victim of attacking a girl before he was ‘waterboarded’. 

English Defence League founder Robinson – recently made an adviser to Ukip – has now claimed the boy who was bullied on the school field had himself attacked a white girl.

But his incendiary claims have caused anger, with others insisting the girl’s mother has already denied the young refugee was involved.

Robinson was yesterday accused of having influenced the bully, after it emerged the boy had shared his Facebook posts.

The 36-year-old today told his followers that he had received messages from a mother from the area, who claimed the bullied boy got involved in an attack on her daughter.

But other Facebook users shared images of messages in which the girl’s mother denied the Syrian boy was involved in the attack, and her message to Robinson had been misunderstood.

The woman behind the claims appears to have since removed her account from Facebook.

In a separate post, Robinson shared a message apparently from the bully’s brother, also claiming the refugee boy had himself bullied a girl, hitting her with a hockey stick.

Critics accused Robinson of ‘stirring up hate and division’ with his online comments, with another saying the activist was ‘trying to make the country hate a child’.

‘I am upset by it myself. It’s had a shocking effect on me. I have been a teacher and I was never involved in anything like this.

‘Almondbury has not had any trouble like this at all since I have been a councillor. The whole episode has really upset me.’ 

West Yorkshire Police said: ‘On October 7, a 15-year-old male victim suffered a wrist injury during an incident in the playground the school. This was fully investigated by police at the time.

‘Three youths were interviewed on October 14, 16 and 17 and there was no further police action as the evidential test required to prosecute was not met and so the matter was referred to the school.

‘On October 26 the police received a report from the same male that he had been assaulted at school by a named 16-year-old male, the previous day (25 October). Included in the report was the video evidence which has recently circulated in the media.

‘The suspect in this matter was interviewed by police on November 6.

‘Upon completion of the investigation, it was reviewed by the Youth Offending Team, as all youth crime is and following their recommendation, the suspect was reported for summons and is currently awaiting a court date.

‘From the start of the investigation on October 26 there has been a multi-agency approach to this incident, including police, the local authority and the school visiting the family. This incident has been treated very seriously by all those involved and has been swiftly investigated.

‘On November 28, after visiting the victim’s family, police were made aware of a second video, in which a young female from the same family was assaulted at school. Police re-visited the family and have begun to investigate a public order offence.

‘The victims and their family have been receiving ongoing support from police and other partner agencies including Kirklees Council, as part of the Syrian Refugee resettlement programme and this continues with additional support while they are victims of crime.

‘We are also aware of rumours which are circulating on social media of the individuals involved in these incidents and there have been no reports made to West Yorkshire Police which substantiate these claims.’

Meanwhile Almondbury Community School headteacher Trevor Bowen has written to parents over the alleged attack and the coverage.

In his letter he said: ‘You will be aware of widespread media reports about an incident which took place in school. The incident happened on our Fernside site a number of weeks ago.

Police outside the Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire yesterday, where the attack happened, are investigating a string of incidents at the school

Police outside the Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire yesterday, where the attack happened, are investigating a string of incidents at the school

‘The safety and welfare of students is our number one priority and I can assure you that this situation is being taken extremely seriously.

‘The matter is subject to an ongoing police investigation and, as I am sure you understand, we must be guided by the authorities in the amount of detail we are able to provide.

‘However, I can confirm we are working with the police to support their enquiries. Since the incident occurred in October, the school, the local authority and the police have all taken action.

‘We must allow the legal process to take its course, but I want to be absolutely clear that we do not tolerate unacceptable behaviour of any sort in our school.

More than 100 Syrian refugees were brought to Huddersfield under a programme from 2015

More than 100 Syrian refugees were brought to Huddersfield under a programme from 2015

‘I can also assure you that we are working very hard to ensure it is “business as usual” across the school and that there is no disruption to the children’s education. The wellbeing of students is of paramount importance to us and a high level of support is available to anyone who may need it.’

A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: ‘The alleged incidents at Almondbury Community School are very serious matters and we are fully focused on our work with the police and the school. We have been working in partnership for a number of weeks and our shared priority is the safety and welfare of all students.

‘Due to the ongoing police involvement we cannot go into further details, but any reports that safety may be compromised are taken extremely seriously.

‘Safeguarding issues are always thoroughly explored.’ 

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